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Five Southwest Coast Path walks to discover

David Knockton / 29 August 2014

The team that helps to look after the UK’s longest and best loved National Trail, tell us about their five top Southwest Coast Path walks.

Southwest coast path

The Southwest Coast Path is where you will find some of England’s most beautiful views, see wildlife in abundance, walk barefooted on deserted beaches, and then head to a coastal inn of choice at the end of your walk. 

Emily Stokes takes us through her five top Southwest Coast Path walks to whet your appetite.

5. Branscombe Village Pub Walk, East Devon – 1.9 miles Easy Walk

A very short walk from Branscombe Mouth to the picturesque thatched village of Branscombe, where the National Trust maintains several delightful properties.

Visit the working forge and mill then enjoy a lovely rest at The Masons Arms public house. If you are feeling energetic after exploring the village, extend the route along the delightful valley behind, to the historic Hole House and Edge Barton.

4. Rame Head Chapel Wildlife Walk, South East Cornwall – 2.0 mile Easy Walk

A high headland with a bird's-eye view of the coast for a long way in both directions, Rame Head has long been a lookout point. 

Celtic warriors built a rampart across the neck of the headland to defend it from possible attack, and medieval monks kept a light burning here to warn sailors of the rocks after St German established their chapel in the Dark Ages. 

This is a short loop around the headland, which is a great place for bird-spotting, especially in autumn, when hobbies, merlins, peregrines, hen and marsh harriers and short-eared owls have all been seen passing through.

3. Penzance from Marazion, West Cornwall – 2.1 mile Easy Walk 

An easy walk from Marazion into Penzance, giving great views across Mounts Bay to St Michael’s Mount, the Lizard and Mousehole. 

This walk is particularly good for dogs as it passes a beach and pubs where dogs are welcome and is virtually level along the seawall on a surfaced path suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs.

2. Porlock Woodland Walk, Exmoor National Park – 4.1 miles Moderate Walk

A delightful stroll around the western side of Porlock Bay, through the woodland cloaking the hills above Porlock Weir, along the clattering pebbles of Porlock Beach and back around the edge of marshy pastures. 

The landscape of this walk has inspired many poets over the years. The famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived in nearby Nether Stowey, and often walked around Porlock with his good friend William Wordsworth (also a local resident).

Try the fabulous Mrs Jackson's Victorian Tea Rooms on Porlock High Street for much needed refreshments.

1. Abbotsbury Castle, Dorset – 5.9 mile Challenging Walk

A rewarding walk through 5000 years of history, travelling high above the coastline along the South Dorset Ridgeway, a Stone Age route peppered with archaeological remains. 

Below, St Peter's Abbey was a fifth century holy site. Subtropical gardens, a Swannery and a fourteenth century chapel add to the many charms of the picturesque village of Abbotsbury. Try the Ilchester Arms Hotel for a lovely evening meal and treat yourself with a night’s stay if you have the time. 

These are just five walks around the Southwest Coast Path – there are over 400 to choose from on our website and for more up to date news follow us on Twitter @SWCoastPath  

Some people walk the whole length of this 630 mile trail over a few weeks others spending countless shorter breaks over many years, building up the mileage. 

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